Smoked Chicken take 2

This is my first blog post for my smoker log. My goal is to keep a record of what I cook, how I cook it and how it turns out.

One chimney of hot coals. Smoker was placed in the shade, outdoor temp was mid-70s. Initially was running too hot (near 300F) before I put the chicken on, so I splashed a little water on the coals to bring the temp down. Two medium pieces of cherry for two 3.5lb chickens. Recipe calls for cooking 3:30-4hrs @ 200-220F. Continue reading


PHP & Rails

I just made a number of small tweaks to the site layout and format which I think cleans things up a bit. The biggest change is the new Archives widget which makes organization a lot cleaner.

On a side note, I’ve switched gears a little and put tcpreplay on hold while I start a new project called Cabernet. One of my guilty pleasures in life is wine and I have so many bottles that it’s actually hard to know what I have and where various bottles are. I hope Cabernet becomes an easy to use wine management system for individuals who have a few hundred to a few thousand bottles.


Good old-fashioned police work

Recently, the US and German authorities stopped a potential attack on an American military base in Germany. The Bush administration’s top spymaster, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell testified before Congress that the newly approved “Protect America Act” was in large part why they were able to stop the terrorists.

But, like other people within the Bush administration who testify before Congress, McConnell seems to have lied about the whole thing.


I feel like I’m in Alice and Wonderland

Today was a pretty important day in San Francisco. After reading Wired’s coverage of the 9th Circuit hearing on the NSA’s spying, and AT&T’s alleged complicity, I’m left hopeful that the three judges will do the right thing and let both cases move forward. Allowing the government to get away with using the state secrets argument as a shield against inquiries into how it apparently violated the Constitution opens up a Pandora’s Box of unchecked abuses against innocent citizens.

My only concern right now is that this case hasn’t gotten enough publicity in the mainstream media to cause a public outcry to force Congress to do actually do something rather then talk about it. Rather, they’ve let the talking heads of the fear-mongers run around yelling the terrorists are coming and we’re all going to die unless you let Bush, the Justice Department and the CIA/NSA have unfettered and secret access to any information they wish. You would of thought after the 1970’s where the FBI routinely spied on people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Americans would have none of this unchecked spying on it’s citizens, but it appears many have forgotten or chosen to ignore history’s lesson.

Can we really have a free democracy where those that are in power can use their position to secretly spy and obtain information on it’s people? The framers of the Constitution implemented checks and balances between the three branches of government; it’s time for the legislative and judical branches to act responsibly in the independent manner for which they were created.

UPDATE: Wired’s analysis of today’s court case.


NBC: Not Bright Correspondent

“A LOT OF MAKEUP can make you prettier, but it won’t make you smarter. Michelle Madigan, Associate Producer for Dateline NBC found this out the hard way at Defcon.”

What I don’t get is that Madigan knew going into DefCon that her secret was blown. The conference administrators asked her four times if she wanted a press pass, but she declined. Before each presentation, a slide with her picture was posted warning conference attendees who she was, but she still tried to walk around undercover. Not very bright.


LGA: Security Theater

So I was flying out of LaGuardia, NY (LGA) this morning on my way home to San Jose, Ca (SJC). After checking in, I was directed by the nice woman at American Airlines to take my checkin bags to the x-ray machine.

There were a lot of bags piling up at the machine and 2-4 TSA agents processing the bags thru the x-ray machine and loading them onto the conveyer belt to the plane. What struck me odd though was that none of the TSA agents actually sat at the x-ray machine console to examine the x-ray images of the bags!

I watched for about 10 minutes as the rest of my party went through the long lines to get their boarding passes. Every few minutes one of the TSA agents would press a button on the computer to restart the x-ray machine and/or check off a form on a piece of paper. He or she would sometimes look at the computer screens for a few seconds, but anywhere from 5-15 bags would be processed in between… hardly enough time for the TSA agent to be able to examine the bags for any dangerous items or contraband.


Safety without Freedom is worthless

After reading Mortimer Zuckerman’s editorial, Putting Safety First I’m both saddened and angered. You would think that someone of Mortimer’s position would be more well versed in both the facts and history.

Considering that your chances of dying from a terrorist attack is far less then being killed by lightning, fire, drowning, murder, car accident or even an asteroid strike it’s hard to justify giving up those freedoms and rights which make us uniquely American.

Personally, I would rather listen to some of the great Americans who shaped our country then people like Zuckerman who would use the threat of terrorisim as an excuse to give away our rights of free speech, free association, due process of law, privacy and most importantly the separation of powers between the three branches of government.

People like Benjamin Franklin who said, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Or as President Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself— nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Will we as a country cower in fear, squander our freedoms away for an ounce of safety or will we stand up for our unalienable rights and continue to pass on that gift to our children as our parents and grandparents gave to us?